Writer Love

15 Feb

So I probably shouldn’t tell this story, but I’m going to anyhow. (Why yes, yes it does make me look as weird and sick as I actually am, now you mention it.)

The Editrix (Domineditrix? Ravenabler?) RT’d a link on twitter today to this How to Date a Writer article. I would like to take a moment to linger on point #7:

Don’t interrupt them at their work. If you find them in the kitchen dressed in underwear leafing through the a book of photographs while butting out a cigarette in a bowl of ice cream, you must treat this scene with the utmost respect. As if you had just walked in on a surgeon in the middle of open heart surgery.

Because — well of course that’s true, you shouldn’t interrupt. But the more important point, I think, is that you will in fact walk in on some weird shit, living with a writer, and if you’re easily freaked out, you’re in trouble.

In truth, B is pretty easily freaked out. (Sorry, dear, but you know it’s true.) He’s extremely animated and his reactions are often very dramatic. However, he is not freaked out by me, which is pretty amazing when you consider.

So here’s the story I probably shouldn’t tell:

My first ever story commission came from Mark Deniz,  long before I was more involved at Morrigan. Mark needed a pinch hitter for the international version of Scenes from the Second Storey, and Amanda Pillar — who had worked with me on both Voices and Grants Pass — said she thought I might do. Massive leap of faith, but Mark gave me a try. He told me which song I’d be writing for (“She Said”) and let me go.

There’s a reference to painting (the sky!) in the song, and when I think of painters, I naturally think of Aldo. See poster boy up there. He’s a rather wounded little art student type, and my official muse. So I decided to write an alternate reality version of him and his best friend (who is, you guessed it, Liam — coming this year to a bookshelf near you!), posing one simple question: what would’ve happened to Aldo if Liam had died young?

Yes, it’s a seriously dark story. And it involves painting. With blood.

So here I am, writing this story, and I’m thinking, Fuck, man, how well does that actually work? Can you really paint with blood? How would it keep, how dark could you get it, what kind of pigment control is going on there? What does it look like after a month? A year?

… you see where I’m going with this. Turn back now, if you’re scared, because  yeah, it’s about to get weird as fuck up in here.

So B comes back from his daily run and finds me on the bathroom floor painting a smiley face on watercolor paper with some weird red stuff. He said, “What the hell did you do?”

And I said, “Oh, I wondered how it’d look if you tried to paint with blood, so I had to get some.”

“Did you cut yourself?”

“I tried but I’m a chicken. I just remembered how much I bleed when I nick the back of my ankle shaving* in the shower, sooooo… I did that.”

And his reaction was priceless. He didn’t scream in terror. He didn’t run away and call a doctor. He didn’t send me to a shrink. He just said, “Well, you didn’t have to do that; I would’ve given you some blood.”

I’m not sure if it’s more creepy or sweet, but yeah. Bit Billy Bob and Angelina, really. You want to date a writer? Prepare for some weird shit.

Also, when I say blood, sweat, and tears went into writing “She Said”, you now know I mean this literally. I’d say that’s why it’s my favorite, but that’s not even true. It’s my favorite cuz of Aldo. (Who, in this universe, is called Tory. But still. Same guy, different world.)

I so shouldn’t hit “publish” on this one. But I’m gonna anyhow.

*Seriously, what’s up with that? You’d think it was a major artery…

33 Responses to “Writer Love”

  1. Meghan February 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    *Seriously, what’s up with that? You’d think it was a major artery…
    I know!!

    You want to date a writer? Prepare for some weird shit.
    Totally. I don’t know what it says about me that your experiment sounds perfectly reasonable, but there you go. Also, I think that might be the sweetest thing B has ever said. There’s some total support for your writing, right there. Dude is willing to give blood to see you succeed.

    • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      Yes, he will bleed himself out for my success! LITERALLY. Whattaguy, right?

      And yeah. WTF, heel artery…

  2. Carrie Cuinn February 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Tell B he is officially awesome for that comment.

    • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      I shall, and he will revel in his awesomeness. He does so love when I talk about him.

  3. Alexa Seidel February 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    You know, nothing about your bathroom episode strikes me as very weird, not even mildly weird (which proves that, yeah, gotta be a writer thing). But seriously, B’s reaction! No wonder you two got hitched.

    • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      THAT’S WHAT I SAID! But my family and non-writing-type friends all looked at me like we were crazier than usual when I told this story. Which is why I stopped telling it.

      But you guys get me. *fistbump*

      And yeah. His ability to be the same kind of nutty/creepy is definitely the reason it only took us a month to get engaged. You just KNOW at that point. :D

      • Reenie February 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

        Biologist friends would work in a pinch too – there’s no end of nutty/creepy things we’ll do to see what happens.

        It’s for Science!!1!

        • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

          SO true. I still have the IT’S FOR SCIENCE! cut out on my picture of cut up Richie on my wall from then, too.

          You’re a double whammy of awesome creepyweird understanding — not only can you write and edit, but you’re a scientist. Holy damn.

        • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

          PS: by the way, for anyone reading these comments, Reenie’s reaction to this story the day it happened was:

          “I want to see the painting!”

          • Alexa Seidel February 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm #


            I did this experiment once with a quill to see if you could sign your name in blood or whether it would clod before you got the chance, so yeah, that is a very scientific approach, no?

          • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

            Hahahaha, yes, IT’S FOR SCIENCE, Alexa!1!1one!! You know!

          • Reenie February 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

            Haha… I’d forgotten about that – and yet that was my exact reaction reading this on the blog today too.

            And now I must go slice up a frozen brain that once sang for me. Hee.

  4. Kalen O'Donnell February 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I love how you make me feel normal. ;)

    No, but seriously, where can I get a Balaji of my own? Cuz this whole ‘others judging my eccentricity’ thing is not good for my dating life.

    Oh, and who else is sick of people getting upset at our lack of being social when we’re in the middle of writing a book? It’s like, CANT YOU SEE IM BUSY KILLING LOVE INTERESTS HERE? JEEZ, GET OFF MY BALLS, PEOPLE!

    • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm #


      *huff* *hairtoss*

      You know, B does have a brother who is similarly weird, but unfortunately he’s already hooked up. Hmmm, I’ll keep an eye out for cousins…

    • Alexa Seidel February 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Yeah, you’re right, writerly weirdness doesn’t help with the dating. That look people give you when you tell them how annoying it is to get an idea while in the shower (never mind the heel artery). Like you had three heads or something. And yes, when writing you just can’t go out. You’re busy, you’re not making up excuses.

      So, if anyone finds a couple spare Balajis…

      • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

        I WILL SCOUR CHENNAI. His family is all literary too so they think me being a writer is cool.

        And yeah, that and getting up in the middle of the night. “Where you going?”


        “Mrph. Kay.” *roll over*


        • Alexa Seidel February 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

          So jealous! I tell people I’m dead tired because an idea kept me up till six in the morning and they give me THE LOOK. Seriously, what is it with this “should I get you a straight jacket?” stare??

          • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

            Yeah, I feel that. There are definitely nights where I get the, “Oh my god just come to bed!” treatment. But dude knows that’s a losing battle.

            Man we really do suck to live with :D

        • Mary February 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

          Man, I can’t even count how many times I’ve been unable to sleep and yanked out my camping headlamp so I could scribble without disturbing Chris. He sleeps like the dead so he doesn’t witness many of my late-night writing shenanigans (but he did know enough to buy me a good sleep mask for those mornings-after :-) )

          • Alexa Seidel February 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

            It’s amazing how ideas always seem to overcome you at night (or in the shower). I find it especially annoying when a story or poem blitz-attacks me when I’m uber-tired, and man, those little critters only ever give up if you give in and write them.

            I’m not complaining, it just explains why writers aren’t morning persons. :)

          • Katey February 17, 2012 at 3:17 am #

            Yeah you know, B does tend to sleep pretty well, but once he’s awake he won’t fall back asleep and my restlessness does not meet with great approval from him on those occasions. Alas, not like anyone can fix us… mmm, though. Sleep mask. Best invention ever.

            And that’s true, Alexa. Either they don’t give up — or they give up too fast and I’m like, “Ffffffffffuck why didn’t I WRITE IT DOWN why am I lazy omg?!”

  5. Anthony J. Rapino February 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Awwww, that’s sweet. :-)

    Side note: do you watch Oddities? There was this guy on that show once who paints with his blood, and holy cow, his art was *Amazing!*

    • Katey February 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      No, but obviously I need to watch it, because that’s awesome!

      Perhaps not so sweet… but it could be. Really. It could. *cough*

      • Anthony J. Rapino February 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

        Here ya go:

        The blood artist starts at 17:04 (actually, earlier in the episode he’s in the store, but this is where he shows his work). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAUHTzkDJzo

        • Katey February 16, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

          I watched the whole episode. Holy fuck, that guy’s my hero. Thank you for that, Tony! <3

  6. Alexa Seidel February 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    “And now I must go slice up a frozen brain that once sang for me.”

    Reenie, that is sooo poetic! I might have to go write a poem about frozen brains and siren song now!!


    • Katey February 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

      Reenie’s awesome neurolab adventures have inspired many a story for me, Alexa. She’s the Neuronaut-in-Cheif of the Hamiltonian Neuronautics Society, even.

      • Alexa Seidel February 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

        So. Cool.

        I’ve been meaning to write a siren poem for a while, and slicing up frozen brains really kicked my imagination into gear! Who’d have thought?

        • Katey February 17, 2012 at 3:15 am #

          There are many things about neuroscience I never imagined that send me reeling into OMGMUSTWRITENOW space, as it turns out. I guess I wouldn’t have thought, but thank all the gods for SCIENCE!

          And yaaaaay siren poem. Oooh I look forward to that!

  7. Alan W. Davidson February 16, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Whoa! Talk about living your work. That is so cool, yet so creepy at the same time. Just let your friends and loved ones know when you’re next writing a vampire story. You know…just in case…

    • Katey February 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      Yeah I didn’t, like, put that much thought into it. I was just curious, and sometimes obsessive curiosity looks, uh, morbid from the outside.

      But B is on the watch for it. Always. We keep life interesting for each other, for sure…

  8. Cate Gardner February 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I knew you were awesome but this post… I only wish I had a tale half as good to tell. I fell such a failure now :D

    Plus B may be even more awesome than you :O

    • Katey February 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      He is, but don’t tell him — I’ll never hear the end of it! :D

      And Cate, we all know very well you have some AMAZING tales to tell. You’re not fooling anyone!

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